Gishwati forest is located in North-west part of Rwanda, in the Albertine Rift region, the forest constituted the relic of the ombrophyllous mountain forests. Beside different threats that the forest is facing, Gishwati remains among the richest forest in terms of biodiversity.
A total of 58 different species of trees and shrubs were recorded in Gishwati forest and 34% of the total numbers of tree species are exotic species. The fauna include four types of primates and these are Chimpanzees (Pan trogrodytes schwenifurthi), Mountain monkeys (Cercopitecus l’hoesti), Golden Monkeys (Cercopitecus mitis kandti) and Blue Monkeys (CercopitMartial Eagle and Grey Crowned Crane. ecus mitis doggetti).
Over 100 species of birds were recorded in Gishwati forest. Among them 15 species are endemic to the Albertine Rift and amongthem are Ruwenzori Batis, Ruwenzori Turaco, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Regal Sunbird, Red-throated Alethe, Strange Weaver, Stripe-breasted Tit and two vulnerable IUCN listed species Kazeneza falls offers a relaxing point after a birding and a natural work inside the forest.
7 Days Nyungwe - Gishwati Mukura - Volacanoes Safari
Day 1: Travel to Nyungwe forest, afternoon canopy walk in Nyungwe Forest
After you have early breakfast by 6.30am check out the Kigali City Park once again for more birds, before setting off to Nyungwe Forest National Park in southwestern Rwanda. Nyungwe Forest is the prime destination for Albertine Rift endemic birds providing at least 27 of the 44 species. The park also boasts of the one the highest variety of volume of primates that includes 13 species of primates many of which you abound to see along the birding trails.
You will make a stopover in Butare for early lunch. After you settle in at the lodge you will head out for the afternoon canopy walk tour in Nyungwe Forest. The walk way hangs through the forest canopy 50 meters above the ground and 200 meters long. The walkway provides breathtaking views over Nyungwe, and also eye-level sightings of canopy wildlife such as elusive birds and monkeys. The Nyungwe canopy walk is the only one in East Africa and thus one not to miss out on when you visit Nyungwe Forest Park. Dinner and overnight!
Day 2: Nyungwe – Chimpanzee trekking in Cyamudongo Forest
Up by 4.30am, report to the Uwinka park office to meet the ranger guide and then travel to Cyamudongo Forest, a 40 minutes drive, for the Chimpanzee tracking. Cyamudongo is a small forest detached from the larger Nyungwe Forest near the D.R. Congo border. It hosts a small population of Chimps, and offers a thrilling Chimp trekking adventure. The aim for the early start is to find the Chimps before they de-nest and witness how they start their day.
Day 3: travel to Kibuye
It will be an early set off to Kibuye, the beach city of Karongi. The 4 hour journey will provide some interesting stopovers for birdwatching. This particular route is also a section of the Congo – Nile adventure trail and will offer spectacular scenery and nice view points of Lake Kivu.
Day 4: Kibuye – Mukura Forest – Musanze
Have an early coffee and tea, check out and set off via Muhanga to Musanze. After an hour’s drive from Kibuye we will come to Mukura Forest, a protected reserve and soon to be gazette a park, which will provide a major birding stopover. This is small patch of forest about 12 square kilometers and was once part of a continuous mountain forest range that ran from Nyungwe to Volcanoes. Mukura boasts of at least 17 Albertine Rift endemics. We will spend the first of the day here before continuing the journey to Musanze.
Day 5: Hiking and Birding in Volcanoes National Park
Set out for a hike in Volcanoes National Park, preferably the least arduous and that will the Lake Ngezi trail on Mount Bisoke. The hike will provide a number of birds and exhilarating views of the surrounding Virunga volcanoes and lush countryside. An alternative hiking trail is the Dian Fossey tomb trail.
Day 6: Gorilla trek
On this day you will set out for the most popular trek in Volcanoes National to visit the Mountain Gorillas. Transfer to the park office at Kinigi by 7am, meet the ranger guides and drive to the start of trek at the edge of the park where you also find some porters. After spending an unforgettable 1 hour with the gentle giants return to the lodge.
Day 7: Golden Monkey trek, departure
You will set out for the trek in Volcanoes National Park to watch a troop of habituated Golden Monkeys in the bamboo forest along the lower zones of the Sabinyo Volcano. This is an easy trek as the monkeys keep in the lower areas. You will return for early lunch after which you shall transfer to Kigali for your evening flight or overnight.
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